Posts Tagged ‘Columbus’

CSO Beethoven Opener was a Winner

September 19, 2016
George Del Gobbo, Music Director and Conductor of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra

George Del Gobbo, Music Director and Conductor of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra

To me, the litmus test for a symphony orchestra is how well it masters the classical music master Beethoven. Saturday night the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, in my view, definitely mastered the master.

It didn’t hurt that it had a world-class concert pianist to dazzle us. Swiss-born American pianist Gilles Vonsattel’s rendition of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 37 was…well… breathtaking. I didn’t know anyone could  move their fingers that  fast.  Judging from the standing ovation he got, I would say that the audience was transported.  I know I was .

Once, when rehearsing the Bob Barr Community Band, retired legendary public school music educator George Corridino, not pleased with the way the band was playing the Sousa classic Stars and Stripes Forever, told the band that it simply could not get  away with not playing that song well. “Everybody in the world knows that song! They’ll know you’re not playing it right.”  When it comes to Beethoven, it’s probably Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67.  That’s the one that its first four notes have the same rhythm as the Morse code’s “V.” The British used it to stand for “victory” during World War II. I remember that. I was 14 when World War II ended.  To put it mildly, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra nailed it.

It was really good to hear CSO Executive Director Cameron Bean announce before the concert that there were 200 middle school students in the balcony. Leter, he told me a sponsor made that possible. It’s really important to expose young people to the sound of a live full symphony orchestra.  I was 15 when I first heard one. The Three Arts League brought the Pittsburg Symphony Orchestra to Columbus.  A wealthy Columbus lady bought tickets for all members of  the Jordan and Columbus High bands. We sat on the first and second rows.  I have loved live symphonic music from that moment on.

Giving and Receiving Care

September 3, 2016

CARING FOR YOU, CARING FOR ME TRAINING SESSIONS AT UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST FELLOWSHIP OF COLUMBUS, GA

Coping with being a longterm caregiver can be a costly affair, physically and emotionally. Just ask anyone who has ever done it.

However, there are ways to make it less costly, and that’s what the Rosalyn Carter Institute for Caregiving is all about.

Gayle Alston, MS, Director the RCI Training Center of Excellence, explained the program recently at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Columbus, Georgia.

There are a number of ways to do that.  Probably topping the list is to remember that if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of someone else.

Taking care of yourself includes making sure you have some time for yourself. To get that time you’re going to need help from others. If a friend offers to come over and sit a while so you can get away from the house for a while, don’t be shy about accepting that offer. If they are true friends they will mean it when they say it.

If you want to learn more about this you can attend Caring for You, Caring for Me training sessions offered in October at the UU Fellowship of Columbus. It will be led by Maureen and Jim Humphies who recently participated in a Trainer workshop at the Rosalyn Carter Institute for Caregiving.  Maureen has been involved with the RCI since 1990.

If you would  like more information you can call the Humphries at (706) 505-8223, or email maureenhumphries1946@gmail.com or humfriesjim43@gmail.com.

 

 

Thanksgiving Thanks

November 24, 2014

A lot of miserable stuff is going on in the world right now (so what’s new?) , but, thankfully,  that’s probably not what’s on most Americans’ minds this week.  It’s Thanksgiving, which is probably second only in holiday popularity to Christmas,  or maybe tied with Halloween for second.  The popularity of Halloween is hard to figure , but then, it’s hard to figure a lot of the choices of the Booboisie.

Thanksgiving is really an interesting phenomenon.  People will fly a thousand miles or more to eat Thanksgiving dinner (Southern for lunch) with family members.  Sometimes, families follow the original Pilgrim’s tradition of  inviting guests. At the alleged first Thanksgiving feast, the Pilgrims invited 90 Native Americans, who had saved them by giving them enough food to survive their first year at Plymouth.  Big mistake by the Indians.  The same big mistake they made when they let Columbus come ashore in 1492.  (Interesting that we have named our city after a murderous enslaver of other human beings.)

But, I digress.

It’s the time for thanks.

Thanks to Kristin and Chris for providing me with a great-grandson right before Thanksgiving.

 Thanks to all my family for their love and support and to my friends for being my friends.

Thanks to all who work to make Columbus a place of beauty and grace,  and a place of wonderful live music and theater. Thanks to all who work to provide a public school system and university to give our youngsters a fighting chance to enjoy fulfilling lives;  and thanks to those who provide world-class museums that preserve and honor our past; and thanks to spiritual,  civic, and governmental organizations who strive to end hunger, homelessness and poverty; and thanks to all military service men and women for their service to our country.

Oh, and thanks to you for reading this.

 

 

Most of the Stores May be Gone, but the Christmas Parade Still Draws Big Crowds in Downtown Columbus

December 10, 2012

It’s Monday, the day I  promised to  try to post something new, and I  haven’t posted anything yet. So, here goes.

Parade-TV_1

I suppose I could say something about Christmas parades since Columbus,  Georgia had one Saturday.  I’ve been in a lot of them over the years, and I’ve watched a few.  I started being in them when I was in the Bob Barr Jordan High  School band back in the forties. Then, as a news anchor at different times for WRBL and WTVM, I rode in convertibles with female co-anchors, and we tossed candy into the crowds, and waved a lot, not necessarily because we wanted to, but because the stations wanted us to. Sometimes some wise guys would pick up the candy and throw it back at us. Guess I can’t blame them. They didn’t ask for  candy to be tossed to them. Eventually, we stopped tossing the candy and just waved.

It is really interesting the way thousands of folks converge on downtown Columbus and Phenix City for the parades just like they did when people did their Christmas shopping downtown.  Most of the retail stores closed or  moved to shopping centers.  One of the prominent ones that didn’t is Chancellors. Perhaps it benefited from the parade. I hope so. I like Chancellors  and still shop there. They may be considered a little pricey, but you  get good stuff, and they make sure it fits. My late mother use to buy all of my father’s suits, shoes, and top coats there, saying you pay a little more, but it looks good and it lasts and lasts.   Wonder if wives still buy most of their husband’s wearing apparel. They must, because I still see a lot of women in men’s clothing departments.

Parade-

As for the parade itself, it was really long and had huge gaps between sections and lacked a main ingredient for parades, a lot of  big high school bands. If it had not been for Central  High of Phenix City, there would not have been a big high school band in  the parade.  I ran into Ledger-Enquirer editor and reporter Chuck Williams at the end of the parade, and he told me that the Muscogee County high school bands were absent because the parade fell on the day the bands audition for the state honors band.  He said he knew that because his daughter is in the Columbus High School Blue Devil Band.  And later the paper explained one of those gaps by reporting that a young girl walking by a float fell under the float and an ambulance had to be called to take her to the emergency room.

All in all, though, I would say the parade was a big success. Folks appeared to  be having a good time and were in good spirits.  People obviously still do love a parade.

As the old saying goes, sorry this is so long, but I didn’t  have time to write a short post today.

Columbus Needs a New Slogan

November 13, 2011

WHAT DO YOU THINK IT SHOULD BE?

Ask one hundred people on the street to tell you the Columbus, Georgia slogan and one might be able to tell you. The slogan, for which a public relations firm was paid tens of thousands of dollars in 2004, is “Columbus, Georgia, what progress has preserved.”

I asked a Columbus Council member – who shall go nameless because I asked the question in a private social setting – and the councilor knew the answer, but when I asked what it means, the answer was, “I don’t know.”  

 Well,  I am not sure what it means. But a friend of mine has an idea. He said it means that “if you have what you had, you had what you have.” Well, that clears it up, right.

Let’s face it, it is stated in such broad, non-specific terms, it could mean different things to different people. Not exactly desirable for a slogan to attract desirable people to our fair city.

For a new one, I came up with, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but that didn’t seem to get any traction.

Seriously, though, how about “Home of Fort Benning”? Seems I can remember whan that was used a lot.  Maybe we could change that to “Proud home of Fort Benning.”

As someone asked in the Ledger-Enquirer Sound Off column, what happened to the “Fountain City” moniker? I remember when that went into effect, and former Ledger-Enquirer writer and editor Claison Kyle, who was on the committee that came up with it, said that even though it wasn’t exactly a fountain  city at the time, it was something Columbus could shoot for, and a lot of folks took him seriously, as fountains started (pun alert) springing up all over town, including even some service stations. Nothing wrong with “Fountain City,” except that it’s Rome, Italy, not Columbus, Geoirgia.

Maybe you have some good ideas for a new slogan. Feel fee to share them with us.

What the National Debt and Deficit are Costing You

February 8, 2010

 Back when I was working in TV news, being cognizant of the importance that local newscasts should provide local news,  when we decided to use a national story, we would always try to “localize” it.  With that in mind, when I decided that I was beginning to feel so concerned about the national budget mess we are in right now that I wanted to do a blog post on it, I tried to figure out how to “localize” it. 

When we say the national debt is now more than $12 trillion,  that’s the big picture.  Maybe to bring it home to each of us, our share is more than $40 thousand each, according to the U.S. National Debt Clock.

 A large share of that debt is generated by defense spending.  That hits home. The Columbus area economy relies heavily on Fort Benning which pumps millions into the stores,  real estate businesses,  and just about everything else.  The annual payroll at Fort Benning is $1.1 billion.  The monthly payroll is $87 million.  Sure, we have to pay our part of the taxes that go into the Defense Department treasury, but we probably get a lot more back than we pay.  The point is that the defense budget directly impacts on us big time. 

Nationally, the proposed defense budget for Fiscal Year 2011 is $708.2 billion.  The base budget, which does not include overseas “contingency operations,” which I suppose means Afghanistan and Iraq, is $548.9 billion, which is $18 billion more than the 2010 budget.

 According to the National Priorities Project Cost of War  Counters, so far, since 2001,  the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars  have cost America a little more than a trillion dollars.  Bringing  that to the local level, folks in Georgia have paid more than $27.6 billion.  The counters don’t list Columbus, so I’ll have to go to a city of about the same size, Augusta, where the cost of the wars has been more than $512 million

Can we afford that?  That opens up a huge can of worms, but just on the fiscal basis,  let’s just ask, can we pay for itNot with our own money.  Incredibly, we lowered taxes when we went to war 8 years ago.  You spend more than you take in, you have to borrow, which leads us to our next post on the fiscal crisis we face. Stay tuned

It’s Warmer in Juneau, Alaska Than in Columbus, GA

January 9, 2010

At 9:48 a.m. EST, January 9, 2010, it is warmer in Juneau, Alaska than in Columbus, Georgia.  It’s 18 degrees in Columbus and 34 in Juneau.  Go figure.

Lowest Chattahoochee River Flow on Record this Summer

August 6, 2009

LOW RIVER FLOW ENDANGERS DOWNSTREAM ECOLOGY, SAYS BILLY TURNER 

It’s hard to believe, but, even though we are not in a drought and have had a lot of rainfall,  the flow of the Chattahoochee River downstream from the Atlanta area has been the lowest on record this summer.   That’s what former Columbus Water Works Director, and defender of downstream Chattahoochee River interests Billy Turner tells me. 

Billy Turner, former Columbus Water Works Director, Columbus, GA

Billy Turner, former Columbus Water Works Director, Columbus, GA

It has happened because the Corps of Engineers is holding back water at Lake Lanier and West Point in order to store more water in anticipation of a future drought, he says.

But, since the Corps is under court order to keep flows strong enough to satisfy Florida’s need for fresh water to flow into oyster beds in Apalachicola,  how can the Corps hold the water back?

“Because,” says Turner, “the Flint River is supplying enough flow for Appalachicola right now.”

What does this low flow mean for downstream communities?

“The main problem with the Corps reducing flows is that a certain amount of flowing water is needed to assimilate the waste-water discharges at each of these cities and plants,” he says, adding, “These flows were designated in wastewater discharge permits by the respective states and if the appropriate levels of flow are not provided the potential for poor water quality in the streams exist which could impact the ecology. The option to having the appropriate flow is higher levels of wastewater treatment which is very expensive.”

In a meeting in Columbus yesterday, Govenor Perdue, who is trying to unify all sections of the state in face of a federal court ruling that, in three years,  Atlanta can’t take any more water from Lake Lanier,  assured Turner and other business and political leaders that the state is not just concerned with Atlanta’s needs.  According to a Ledger-Enquirer story,  neither Represntative Debbie Buckner nor Turner were convinced.  “I don’t think we came together today,” Turner said. “There has got to be more discussion. What is the deal Georgia has in mind?” 

He had told me erlier, “Georgia will continue to fight for Atlanta’s water needs requardless of the concerns of Columbus and our neighbors. It would be a great step if Georgia would provided a balanced support for all Georgians which could keep us on the same side in the Court actions. To date State government has only shown concern for Atlanta.” 

Turner is a prime leader in a suit filed against the Corps of Engineers demanding that an adequate downstream flow be maintained.

 

Bo Callaway Endorses Josh McKoon for Georgia Senate Dist. 29

July 10, 2009

One minor correction, Josh: Bo Callaway was never Governor of Georgia.

Josh McKoon announcing for GA Sen. Dist. 29, Hamilton, GA (Courtesy; Josh McKoon)

Josh McKoon announcing for GA Sen. Dist. 29, Hamilton, GA (Courtesy; Josh McKoon)

  You can understand Josh McKoon’s enthusiasm about getting Bo Callaway’s support.  However,  as distinguished as the former Secretary of the Army’s  career has been, he lost the governor’s race in 1966 to Democrat Lester Maddox in one of the most famous elections in the history of this state.   I covered the election in the Georgia House where it ended up after no one got a majority in the election.  Callaway won a plurality,  but in 1966 that wasn’t good enough.  A lot of the House Democrats would have preferred him over Maddox, but they were not about to put a Republican in the governor’s office. 

Howard "Bo" Callaway, when he was Sec. of the Army (Courtesy: U.S. Army)

Howard "Bo" Callaway, when he was Sec. of the Army (Courtesy: U.S. Army)

Josh’s news release said that he said, “It is an honor to have the support of the first popularly elected Republican Governor of Georgia after Reconstruction.”

He was the first Georgia Republican elected to the United States Congress since reconstruction.  I covered the election in which he beat former Georgia Lt. Governor Garland Byrd for the 3rd Congressional District seat.  Sonny Perdue is the first Republican elected Governor of Georgia since reconstruction.

With Josh’s roster of supporters –  the news release says,  “Howard Hollis ‘Bo’ Callaway joins community leaders such as Sam Rawls of
Knight-Rawls, former AFLAC executive George Jeter, Sheriff Mike Jolley
of Harris County and Synovus Chairman Richard Anthony as part of the
Steering Committee ” – you would  think any potential challenger might just forget it.  Not so.  Attorney Ron Mullins, who is seriously considering a run,  hasn’t been scared off yet.  At least,  not the last time I talked with him about it.

Infantry Museum Now Open

June 19, 2009
Parade Field, National Infantry Museum, Ft. Benning (The Parade Field is actually on the Ft. Benning Reservation, but the Museum building is in Columbus.)

Parade Field, National Infantry Museum, Ft. Benning (The Parade Field is actually on the Ft. Benning Reservation, but the Museum building is in Columbus.)

Thousands made the long walk from parking their cars on the roadsides to the   parade ground next to the National Infantry Museum to attend the grand opening graduation ceremony for soldiers who completed their basic training at Fort Benning, and the grand opening of the Museum afterwards.

Museum director MG (R) Jerry White left removes coat,  former Sec. of State Colin Powell greets fellow attendee,  Parade Field stands, National Infantry Museum

Museum director MG (R) Jerry White left removes coat, former Sec. of State Colin Powell greets fellow attendee, Parade Field stands, National Infantry Museum

Former Secretary of State and General Colin Powell drew a cheer from the crowd when he arrived.  He is on hand to cut the ribbon to open the museum.  He topped the long list of dignataries on hand.

Silver Wings Sky Diver,  National Infanrty Msueum Parade Field

Silver Wings Sky-diver, National Infanrty Msueum Parade Field

After the Army’s impressive show of an air assault demonstration,  and members of the elete “Silver Wings” parachuting in,  the Infantry Center Band led the graduating troops onto the field from World War Two Company Barracks area. Since I was in a couple of Army bands, I  always enjoy seeing them do their stuff well, and they did, which was good since this was probably the largest audience they’ll ever march and play for. 

Infantry Center Band leading basic training graduates on to Parade Field

Infantry Center Band leading basic training graduates onto Parade Field

Now,  we can actually see the museum’s main exhibits.  Maybe folks will now start patronizing the Imax Theater, the Fife and Drum restaurant, and the museum’s gift shop enough to help with the museum’s operating expenses.  The crowds for those attractions have been disappointing up until now,  but maybe that will change now.  I’ve been to the theater and restaurant and enjoyed both, and I plan to go again and again. See you at the museum.